Archive for July, 2014

My Injuries Are Being Treated, Now What About My Car?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The first thing that most people are concerned about after an automobile accident is their injuries, and rightfully so. When you are hurt, whether your injuries are severe or minor, it is only natural to wonder how long you will be affected by them, and what you can expect during the process of recovery. Once you have been examined by a doctor and your injuries have been treated, you may begin to wonder about something else – your car.

The most urgent question that you are likely to have about your car after your accident is whether it can be repaired or whether it will have to be replaced. Insurance companies decide whether to pay for repairs based upon what the most financially advantageous course of action is for them. Sometimes, estimates will place the cost to the insurance company of fixing your vehicle as greater than its fair market value. At this point, it is more cost effective for the insurance company to reimburse you for the loss of your vehicle than to pay to fix it. In this type of situation, the insurance company will tell you that your vehicle is “totaled”, which means that it has been rendered a total loss.

Determinations of whether it is feasible to repair a vehicle involve estimated costs of repair and the fair market value. It is important that drivers understand what fair market value means, for that reason. A vehicle’s fair market value is the amount that a buyer could expect to pay for a similar vehicle in your geographic area. Fair market value incorporates factors like the condition of the car, its age, mileage, and features. Resources like the Kelley Blue Book, the local newspaper or online car buying websites all offer calculators for fair market value that vehicle owners can use to check the value of their car at any given time.

If the insurance company decides to fix your car, you get to decide where the car will be repaired, as long as you choose a licensed repair shop. This ensures that you can choose a repair shop which is conveniently located near where you live or work, and that you can use a mechanic that you trust, if you have built a relationship with a mechanic or shop over the years. The insurance company may even pay other costs, like a portion of sales tax, tag fees, registration fees, and storage and towing costs.

After your injuries have been attended to, it is time to address the issue of what will happen to your vehicle. Your car is an important part of your daily life, and it is important for you to get back on the road as soon as you are physically and emotionally ready to do so. Unfortunately, insurance companies can be slow to make decisions about what they will do about damaged vehicles. Getting an attorney involved can help to move the process along. A Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can help you to recover both physically and financially from your accident. To learn more about how a Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can help you to obtain the settlement that you deserve, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.

Silence is Golden During Traffic Stops

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

When you are stopped by the police, your encounter with the officer will most likely begin with a simple request for your license, insurance card, and registration. All of these items should always be within your reach, and it is important that you hand them over to the officer with as little fanfare as you can, because you are required by law to do so. As you search for your license, registration, and insurance card, you may be wondering how the rest of the traffic stop will go and whether there is anything that you can say or do to get out of there quicker, do not share those thoughts with the police officer who is outside of your window. Instead of saying something, think about whether and how you will answer any additional questions that the law enforcement officer decides to ask you.

You may not realize it, but the law enforcement officer who has detained your vehicle on the side of the road is not looking for an entertaining conversation. They are on a fishing expedition of sorts, looking for any and all information that they could possibly use to get you into trouble. Sometimes, this excessive questioning is even paired with an aggressive attitude, which can be downright intimidating. As scary as the situation might be, remain calm, stay quiet and remember that you have rights, including the right to remain silent.

Of course, knowing that you have a right to decline to answer an officer’s questions is one thing. Actually exercising that right by calmly and confidently refusing to answer questions while you are in the presence of a law enforcement officer is another thing entirely. Police officers know that many drivers have no idea that they are only legally required to provide three items during a traffic stop. Officers are also well aware that many drivers and passengers are intimidated by authority figures. With these things in mind, officers are quick to ask lots of questions, and they expect answers. Do not be surprised if the police officer seems surprised that you are not answering their questions. They may even become frustrated, or annoyed. This does not mean that you have to speak, though. If things seem to be taking a while, simply ask the officer “Am I free to go now?” to see whether the traffic stop is coming to an end.

It is difficult to predict how a traffic stop will go, or what questions the police officer will ask you. You can minimize the chance that you will provide the officer with information that could harm you knowing your rights and exercising them by saying as little as you possibly can during the traffic stop. Regardless of what you do or do not say, know that retaining a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney will give you the best chance at obtaining the best possible result in your Kansas DUI case. To learn more about how a Kansas DUI defense attorney can help you with your DUI case, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548


A Few Good Reasons to Hire a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Whether you are currently facing your first criminal charge or you have been previously charged with one or more crimes, you probably have a sense of just how serious your situation is. Some people may suggest that you defend yourself against the criminal charges. You may even feel as though you could be successful in representing yourself in court. If you are like many people, though, it is just too risky to go it alone. If you are on the fence about whether to retain an attorney, consider the following five reasons why it is important that you seek counsel from a knowledgeable Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney.

A lot of paperwork goes along with being charged with a crime. What you may not be aware of is that the administrative staff at the courthouse will not assist criminal defendants in filling out their paperwork. If you fill the paperwork out yourself and you make a mistake, you may hurt your chances of prevailing against the criminal charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney has completed all of those forms numerous times, and they can ensure that all of your forms get to the correct locations and parties in compliance with all applicable deadlines.

Also, criminal defendants are often offered options which may help them to avoid a conviction. Many criminal cases settle before they get to trial, often with positive results for the defendants. Your Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you to understand whether and when a plea bargain, diversion, or dismissal may be available in your case. They can also help you to assess the risks and benefits of choosing each of the options that are available to you.

Every criminal conviction has consequences that can affect the present and future life of the defendant and family members. Even common crimes like drug possession and traffic violations could have serious penalties which will impact your freedom well into the future. Your Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you to minimize the impact of the current charges against you on your present and future freedom.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can look closely at the facts of your case to determine whether any mistakes were made by the police. There are rules which govern how physical and verbal evidence may be obtained, and how it should be handled. Your attorney can spot evidentiary issues which may be present in your case, and can challenge the charges in situations where your rights were violated or evidence was improperly obtained.

A fifth reason that you need a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney is that the State has an attorney. Your adversary, the prosecutor, knows the laws under which you have been charged with a crime. They want to win their case for the State, so they are unlikely to offer you any sort of leniency. When you have your own attorney, you avoid being on the disadvantaged end of a power imbalance in the courtroom.

If you have been charged with a crime, a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney will help you to pursue the best possible outcome in your case. Your Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney will give your case the personal attention that you deserve. To learn more about how a Kansas Criminal Defense attorney can help you with your Kansas criminal matter, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.